Mexico. The answer...is MEXICO. Okay, I haven't been in Mexico this whole time, but for a week recently...yeah. Nice getaway with the fam after another nutty December at the day job, and here we are. To be honest, it was much needed. I had a lot of fog in my head along with a metric ton of doubt. Even after I got back to the frozen Hellscape I call home it was still there, but I think I'm starting to get a wee bit of a handle on it.
How much doubt are we talking about? Let's just say enough was piled onto my back to the point I was seriously contemplating my future in writing. That hasn't happened since I started publishing back in 2014, so it just goes to show you what the last few years can do to someone's psyche, and I was already on a bit of a downward slide in pre-pandemic 2019. But, we'll take it day-by-day and trudge through the mire, fingers crossed that the muddy shallows appear through the fog soon.
[Below: visual aid for my mental state.]
Naturally, inspiration's been in short supply. I've only just started to wade tentatively into the editing process on what I've been calling Tides of Odyssium #1, trusting that throughout that process, a clearer image will form for what Tides #2 and #3 are going to look like. But since I'm leaning toward offering these up for the traditional publishing route (small publishing house, most likely), I'm not going to rush it. If that means #1 doesn't release for a few years, that's how it'll have to be. Again, we'll see.
One last thing, though (and by one last thing, I mean content enough for a complete blog of its own).
Something odd happened this week. I occasionally have nights of insomnia, and this week I had a doozy of a night. While waiting to fall asleep, an avalanche of ideas were keeping me up, all centered around a story I haven't thought much about in the last few years...mainly because I wasn't planning on writing it until after the Tides trilogy was done. But there I was in bed, plotting out nearly the whole damn story from about 11 until 2 or 3 in the morning. It probably had something to do with a recent reread I had of SCRAPPER, reading it as part of the process of sorting out all my issues of late as it pertains to writing. Look, I'm sure there are writers out there who look at their first published works and yell, "yep, NAILED IT!" I'm not one of those guys, if the recent revision wasn't a tip-off enough.
SIDE NOTE: if this comes across as me saying the PARAGON books are somehow bad, I'm not saying that. At all. I still feel that those books were good books in their original versions, and are FANTASTIC books now that the revisions are out. But as an author, you chart your progress and improvement along the way. It's impossible not to, unless you don't care what you're putting out there. HOUSE OF FALLING RAIN is a stronger book than the PARAGON books. THE GIRL WHO STOLE THE SUN is probably better than those that preceded it. And this new Odyssium Collection I've finished arguably has stronger material than in the first one. And so on. That's how writing is SUPPOSED TO WORK--at least that's how I see it. Strive for improvement. Give your readers something better than they got last time.
Getting back to my point, I apparently still do think those books are good, because that reread sparked my imagination and, during that sleepless night, brought me prematurely back into Salla's world. These are the first new ideas I've had in literal MONTHS. And if it does take me a few years to get the Tides books out, that story I plotted out will likely come out in the interim, whether on its own or even part of Odyssium Collection #3. Yet again, one last time...we'll see.
Till next time,